But the eggs were no match for the record crowd. Within moments after the announcer counted down to zero, the eggs were gone. Some children began plucking pieces of candy out of their eggs, while others, left empty-handed, had to settle for the chocolate eggs given away at the gate as they left.
“There’s a lot of shoving and pushing, but they did good, they made it out alive,” said Ashley Haygood of Woodstock, whose kids, Garrett, 7, and Deanna, 4, competed in the 4- to 7-year-old egg drop, while 11-year-old Elizabeth watched. “It was great, a really good time.”
The fourth annual Northeast Cobb Community Egg Drop event drew an estimated 22,000 people, up from 18,000 in 2012, said Steve Crowley, community pastor at Piedmont Church and board member with the Northeast Cobb Business Association. Both those organizations helped put on the event, along with the Cobb County School District.
“For a family outing in northeast Cobb, there is nothing that rivals it,” Crowley said.
Along with egg hunts for three age groups, the event also included food, games and inflatable rides.
Piedmont Senior Pastor the Rev. Ike Reighard said the event is something the community looks forward to.
“East Cobb is very identifiable. West Cobb, where I live, is very identifiable,” he said. “For the middle section, it’s not very identifiable. So we wanted to do something that was very identifiable for the community.”
To set up the free event, 250 volunteers, 200 of them students, prepared 90,000 eggs and pieces of candy. The egg drop also serves as a fundraiser for the Shop with a Yellow Jacket holiday program at Sprayberry, as well as Kell High School’s Shop with a Longhorn. Last year, Crowley said it raised $4,000 for the programs.
The helicopter drop sets the event apart from other area Easter egg hunts. Helicopter pilot Mike Patellis said that from overhead, he notices the people walking toward the event along Piedmont Road get a spring in their step when they see him approaching.
“Everybody runs when they see the helicopter get close to the school,” he said.
Jessica Donehoo of Acworth said the only challenging part of the event is the hour wait between each age group’s egg hunt. Her children; 22-month-old Trysta, 7-year-old Trinity and 10-year-old Trent; each go in different age groups.
“If they would shorten it a little bit, it would be awesome, but, other than that, it’s pretty good,” she said.
Reighard said the event can be challenging to run.
“Thankfully, anybody who got separated from their parents got settled really quickly,” he said. “It’s a large scale event, especially when you see the ages of people who are here.”